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Chocolate Fish Cafe to Close?


Sep 14 2007, 9:14pm

Post #1 of 19 (4091 views)
Chocolate Fish Cafe to Close? Can't Post


Terumi Isogai writes: I am a fan of LOTR who is living in Wellington, New Zealand. The big news in town is that the famous Chocolate fish cafe is in danger of closing by the end of this year, due to rising cost. You might know this already but I thought we as fans could start some sort of petition trying to stop this from happening.

I am a Japanese national and write blog about Wellington and LOTR related news in Japanese. I know a lot of fans from Japan still consider this cafe as oe of tthe LOTR locations and keen to visit as many times as possible. This cafe is sacred place for LOTR fans!

Please read this article from the Dominion Post: http://www.stuff.co.nz/...t/4200251a23918.html. If you could spread the news to other LOTR fans, I am sure we might be able to save this little cafe!

Michael Regina
Editor in Chief/Segment Producer
PH: 514.947.5221

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Sep 15 2007, 12:18am)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 15 2007, 12:26am

Post #2 of 19 (2341 views)
Oh man, that sucks. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not only is the food and the venue great, but the service is brilliant. During WellingMoot we rolled up in a van, in the rain, and by the time we had run across the road and got inside (with the door opened for us by the proprieter), the guy had already counted us (from seeing us in the van as we parked) and a table was already being prepared. Now THAT was service!

And their musrooms on toast was brilliant.

BTW I love how the front page now has a 'discuss' link to the discussion boards. What a great feature!

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Sep 15 2007, 12:29am)


Sep 15 2007, 2:44am

Post #3 of 19 (2274 views)
Put question mark besides places to visit ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah!!!! for the new links too!!! They are wonderful!!!
I can find things!!! WooT!!!

Now back to business ...Frown theyre closing the cafe??? What a shame!
I suppose thats what the current grab for real esate has done in NZ, its happened extensively as well as over here.
New Council regulations and high prices for outdoor tables - pay per seat you wack on the pavement ..
The same thing happened at Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Maroubra ... all the nice beaches where there was a quaint cafe .. even the 'famous' ones ..
all gone - renovated (debateable) with outrageous rentals and short term leases with owners having the last say on things ..council reguations and fees ...
They could sell I suppose and let someone else take over and keep it running ... or open up another about 10ks away ... Wink
I hope they get it sorted for the better ...

Elven x

SILVERCHAIRS Daniel Johns gets the crowd going at the 'Big Day Out Festival' at Minas Tirith before Denethors famous stage dive.

Tolkien was a Capricorn!
..*sing & sway* "All we are saying ..Is Give Pete A Chance" ...
"Your friends are with you Peter"

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 15 2007, 9:14am

Post #4 of 19 (2242 views)
That's crazy [In reply to] Can't Post

The place is packed every weekend. I was there last week. If it does happen it'll be a great shame - I use it as a goal for bike rides! 40 minutes there, a coffee and a cake, 40 minutes back. Booo.

Fox Glacier



Sep 15 2007, 10:24am

Post #5 of 19 (2267 views)
That's brilliant! [In reply to] Can't Post

So what can we do!? I'm WAY outta their neighbourhood... but there's gotta be some way of letting them know it's VITAL they keep the place up and going!

Maybe if we alert the Fellowship! I'll bet they'd have something to say about it!

sample sample
Trust him... The Hobbit is coming!

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

TORn's Observations Lists

Tol Eressea

Sep 15 2007, 12:56pm

Post #6 of 19 (2266 views)
No! [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't get a chance to visit Chocolate Fish when I was in NZ, and was hoping to go next year. I hope they are able to stay at their current location. If there is anything we can do, let's do it!

Sincerely, deej - The Artist Formerly Known as djdeathskiss

Lily Fairbairn

Sep 15 2007, 3:29pm

Post #7 of 19 (2263 views)
Oh no! [In reply to] Can't Post

We're supposed to have second breakfast there on our tour next March!

* * * * * * *
Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?

A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!"

Alaïs Longthought
Registered User

Sep 15 2007, 9:27pm

Post #8 of 19 (2248 views)
What a shame... [In reply to] Can't Post

...we really enjoyed our lunch at The Chocolate Fish in February 2006. My daughter (8 at the time) was thrilled w/the chocolate fish on her plate! First Arwen's forest gets cut down, now this...the only thing that stays the same is change.

“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”
—J.R.R.Tolkien, The Return of the King, “The Grey Havens”

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 15 2007, 11:00pm

Post #9 of 19 (2227 views)
Welcome, Alais! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's always great to see a new member on the boards. :)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 16 2007, 10:28am

Post #10 of 19 (2229 views)
That's such a shame. [In reply to] Can't Post

We had an excellent time there at Wellingmoot, as described by Ataahua.

Promises to Keep: a novel set in 19th Century New Zealand.

The Passing of Mistress Rose

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View

Registered User

Sep 16 2007, 5:20pm

Post #11 of 19 (2241 views)
chocolate fish to close [In reply to] Can't Post

I think we were as shocked as most of the other fans were to discover our favourite Wellington cafe was to be closed.
We have only just got back to the UK and managed a couple of visits in August.
It is such a beautiful location no wonder the actors loved it so much. It was amusing to see the Gorilla signed by Andy Serkis stating that the Chocolate Fish was the eighth wonder of the world.
Let's hope we can sign a petition to at least show our support for the people who run it.

Chris,Jane and Elijah Bear

Registered User

Sep 16 2007, 8:22pm

Post #12 of 19 (2245 views)
Glad to see all the response! [In reply to] Can't Post

This is my first time to leave a message here, quite nervous....

I am so glad to see the response from all over the world about Chocolate Fish Cafe closure. I wonder what we can do next. How do you start a petition? If anyone can help starting some movement, please do!!!!

Registered User

Sep 17 2007, 5:16pm

Post #13 of 19 (2242 views)
The World Has Been Changed [In reply to] Can't Post


I feel uncomfortable while hearing about this. What's New Zealand government doing? They wanted to attract tourists with LOTR related spots, right? Now what?

On the other side, it seems to be a global phenomeon. In Taiwan, we also have some famous stores facing the crisis of getting closed because of the rising cost. Same problem! What happened to this world?

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 17 2007, 7:47pm

Post #14 of 19 (2211 views)
It's not the Government, [In reply to] Can't Post

it's Wellington City Council and the fees that it sets (or the cafe's intransigence when in comes to working the council, depending on which comments you believe in the article). I sense a lack of interest on the part of the business owners to continue in the cafe's current form, and this is the excuse for them to close.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Sep 17 2007, 9:59pm

Post #15 of 19 (2213 views)
If you're gonna go ... [In reply to] Can't Post

go out on a high note!
They might open up somewhere else ... they still own the name.


Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!

Tolkien was a Capricorn!
..*sing & sway* "All we are saying ..Is Give Pete A Chance" ...
"Your friends are with you Peter"
Let the Hobbit Happen!!!

Registered User

Sep 19 2007, 12:06pm

Post #16 of 19 (2192 views)
NOooo! [In reply to] Can't Post

Unsure Oh no! I was really looking forward to visiting this whenever I finally manage to get to NZ - not sure when that will be, so doubtless I'll be too late. That's two blows to my projected LotR tour - first the forest area (where Arwen sees her future son) being razed and now this. STOP, please! Let's hope the Chocolate Fish finds some way of staying put, or somebody comes to their aid....

Registered User

Sep 20 2007, 6:33am

Post #17 of 19 (2203 views)
chocolate fish cafe [In reply to] Can't Post

I have just received a reply to an e-mail i sent to Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast,
The cafe's share of the Scorching Bay upgrade would have been estimated at $35,500,
It would appear that it is the buildings owner increasing the rent that is the main issue,
The mayor did say that, " we too will be disappointed to see the Chocolate Fish close "

Registered User

Sep 21 2007, 8:01pm

Post #18 of 19 (2200 views)
Cafe might move to Wellington Waterfront? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have just read this letter from the owners of the cafe in the Dominion Post.

"Our tenancy conditions have reached the point where it is not viable to continue trading in our present locaion. We are working toward wht we hope will be a new waterfront location in Wellington."

Even though the cafe might open somewhere else, it is not the same as the one on the Scorching Bay where LOTR people went........

Registered User

Oct 11 2007, 10:15pm

Post #19 of 19 (2181 views)
Clearing up some points from a local (Wellington) perspective... [In reply to] Can't Post

Ok, there seems to be a lot of angry and disappointed people here. I have visited the Chocolate Fish Cafe probably more often than anyone, I have eaten at least 1300(!) of their second breakfasts. Can anyone here beat that?

For the record - the Wellington council is not to blame for the impending closure of the cafe. Sure, the extra expense for the concrete extensions haven't helped, and they certainly were pretty bureaucratic about reducing the number of seats earlier this year from about 100 to around 50, but every cafe owner in the world has to deal withh council bylaws. Our Wellington council doesn't make a habit of destroying landmark cafes for the sake of it.

The real problem is the owner of the building, a fairly grumpy guy who insists on raising the rent time and time again. For those of you who haven't been to the cafe, it isn't exactly huge (apparently only 86 square meters or so), but the rent is now up to roughly $2000 a week. In local terms, that amounts to extortion, as far as I'm concerned.

On top of that, he has never offered the cafe management a lease of any sort, and it appears now that he wants them out by year's end, directly or indirectly. What he's hoping to achieve by this we're not sure - nobody else will be able to take the place of the Fish, and if it's peace and quiet he wants, he may have missed the fact that it's still a beach area, with public amenities, and hugely popular with Wellingtonians, cafe or no cafe. Maybe he's just sick of counting his money every week

I'm guessing the management of the cafe will find another location on the coast, and although it may not actually be in Scorching Bay, it should still be on the coastline here. John the owner has told me they're still very much thinking about some presence there, maybe a coffee cart, but the Fish in its present state will probably cease to exist from about a week before christmas or so.

What you can do at this point is unclear. You could write to the council of Wellington, or to the Fellowship members who used to eat here (yes, Elijah ate here, as did Sean, Dom and Billy, Orlando, and a bunch of others, as well as Jack Black, Naomi Watts and Adrian Brody, and bunches of other stars from Peter's movies). How much they can do I'm not sure, but at least it will show the cafe staff your support.

While we're clearing the air - the forest where Arwen saw the vision of her son-to-be was not "razed" - it was a forestry area and was always marked for logging. Peter Jackson knew that when he filmed there. Good god, people, New Zealand isn't ACTUALLY middle-earth, it's a FANTASY movie filmed in the real world. The movie was filmed in over 150 different locations around the country - must we actually keep every single tree that appeared in the background? Who pays for it?

Two weeks ago, the council temporarily closed the Mt Victoria location where the "Get Off The Road" scenes were filmed, due to an upgrade of the path for a local sporting event. The Mt Victoria lookout over Wellington was still closed (by the council) due to revamps that have gone ahead throughout the winter despite the bad weather (the council have opened them both again, btw). At the same time, the Chocolate Fish was coming under threat, the Great River Anduin (actually the Hutt River) was closed for acess due to flooding (probably also the council's fault? Or the Government?), The Helms Deep/Minas Tirith site at the Dry Creek Quarry is over-run by bulldozers (hint: it's a QUARRY), The Upper Hutt Council saw it fit to "destroy" the path that Gandalf too on his arival at Orthanc (hint: they used a lawnmower) and to top if all off, when some eco-terrorist had spread small amounts 1080-poison (normally used for combatting the invasive Possum species that are destroying our forests) in the carpark of Rivendell (Kaitoke forest), the council also closed that for a week while they worked very hard to ensure the safety of visitors this summer.

Ok, that was a bad week, but all four local tourcompanies continued to show local visitors the sights/sites to the best of their abilities. They're all gearing up for the summer, ready to take more of you around when you arrive.

Here's something you can do - write to Peter Jackson and ask him if we're ever going to see a PERMANENT museum of LOTR props in Wellington. The travelling show was fantastic, and a lot of people saw that, but Wellington has nothing official to show that LOTR even took place here at all, except for two little white signs on top of the hill that stat "Lord Of The Rings - Filming Location", about 3 inches square. And once more, for the record - they were placed there by the council.

I guess my point is - the council is an easy target but they aren't to blame for the closure of the cafe. Everybody talks a lot, but actually, only the council appears to be doing anything about saving the LOTR sites.

The producers of this fantastic movie have done very little to accomodatwe the fans afterwards, and we need to get onto Wingnut and Weta to get something done permanently, before it all disappears forever.

And you can all show your support by coming to NZ for your next holiday. The 17-day LOTR tour by Red Carpet isn't the only company that whows the locations - at last count there were 37 companies in New Zealand that take you to LOTR locations, catering for all budgets and level of fandom. So get onto your travel agent and come over already!


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